25 December 2010

Bankrupt CPM Strikes Again - Heading For A Bloody Election

A Brief Report On the Recurrence of Violence in Nandigram

Unsure about whether they can win through plain voting, a desperate CPM has again resorted to tactics of violence in Nandigram in the past three days as its preparation for the forthcoming Panchayat elections. To understand the situation there, a team consisting of concerned citizens (Meher Engineer, Bijaya Chanda, Debjit Dutt, Ashim Giri and Anuradha Talwar) visited the area today( 20th April 2008). We visited Gokulnagar Adhikary Para and the local Nandigram Hospital. We talked to CRPF and Eastern Frontier Rifles personnel posted in the disturbed area. We also met various patients and their families at Nandigram hospital. One of our team members (Bijaya Chanda) had earlier met three of the patients who have been transferred because of the seriousness of their injuries to SSKM Hospital in Kolkata. We give below some of our major observations:

The past few days have seen a repeat of torture on the people of Nandigram. Villagers of three different parts of Nandigram have been the target of attacks in the past three days. As a result, there have been a number of people wounded – 10 from Gokulnagar Adhikary para, Mondal para and Parmanik para , of which three are women; 7 from Garchakraberia area; and, 1 old woman of 70 years from Sonachura area.

There has been a repeat of the earlier experience for those who have suffered earlier either on March 14th 2007 or during the “re-capture” operation by the CPI(M) in November 2007, or in the intervening period. The most shocking example of this is that of Radharani Ari, a frail middle-aged village housewife. Radha Rani’s husband is a marginal farmer. She was gang raped on March 15th by her CPI(M)  neighbours. However, Radharani never allowed the shame of being raped overcome her zeal to protest against injustice She became one of the most vocal critics of the CPI(M)’s harmad[1]. She has been part of a nationwide campaign on the CPI(M)’s atrocities , having gone to Kerala and Delhi with a team and later having accompanied the Nandigram to Narmada Jatha . She also gave evidence against her rapists to the High Court appointed CBI team. On 18th April 2008, Friday night, at 9.30 PM, Radharani had to pay the price once again for her courage – she was gang raped once again by Harekrishna Das and Chinmaya Das. The latter is the CPI(M) candidate for booth number 167 in Gokulnagar in the forthcoming Panchayat election.

Radharani was recovered from a field that is about 200 yards from her house in a half naked and unconscious state at 3.30 AM after the harmad left. Like Radharani, Narmada Shit of Sonachura, a 70 years old woman, has been targeted because she is a vocal critic of the CPI(M) harmad. She was chased and beaten up on Friday night by the harmad and while trying to escape them, she fell and was almost buried under an earthern wall that collapsed on her. She has also been admitted to the SSKM Hopsital in Kolkata with grievous injuries along with Radha Rani.

Many of those wounded have been attacked earlier. One example is that of the family of Radharani Ari,  whose son was attacked earlier and broke his leg in the process. Her son and husband were attacked again, when she was raped on the 18th. Pratap Ari, her husband, is seriously injured and in SSKM hospital, He has received a greivious sword injury on his chest. Her son, Subhendu Ari, is in Nandigram hospital with a deep cut on his left foot due to a sword attack. Some of the others wounded are:

Sudharshan Pramanick of Gokulnagar Parmanik Para received injuries from an iron rod , lathis and swords. He is Nandigram hospital.

Shiekh Gulam Mohammed of Jalpai Nakchirachar was attacked by a sword. He managed to escape an injury on his stomach and was then attacked on the head. He put his hands up to prevent this and has had both his hands cut by the sword.
The CPI(M) during the attacks has followed the sinister pattern that they used in November during their “re-capture” operation. Large groups of armed people have invaded the villages once again; many of the members of these groups have been outsiders from the neighbouring Khejuri area; the police have stood by as casual bystanders, and often as active supporters of the invading groups, arresting youth supporters of the Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh Committee from the villages as a precursor to the invasion.

Of most concern is the fact that the entry of outsiders in the area is being actively prevented once again. Today (20th April 2008), the convoy of Mamata Banerjee was prevented from entering Gokulnagar by an armed mob of CPI(M) supporters in spite of the presence of the Nandigram Police Station Officer in Charge (OC), Debashis Chakraborty, and the Circle Inspector (CI) who preferred to play the role of a partisan onlooker. She was manhandled and her vehicle was wrecked.

Of even more concern is the fact that in the presence of the OC and CI, members of the media were stoned and chased by the armed mob for about 1-2 kms. The police force and the Rapid Action Force (a special anti-riot police group) were also part of the mob that chased them.

Ransacking of houses has also started again. Radharani Ari’s house has had tiles broken on Friday and is lying desolate. Swadesh Das Adhikary’s house in Gokulnagar Adhikarypara , which was burnt in November was once again surrounded by a mob in the evening today. It was only our repeated appeals to the CRPF force over the phone that led to his rescue and the dispersal of the mob from the area. Khokan Shit’s house in Sonachura was attacked with bombs on Friday night.

People, especially women, are once again frightened. Many are planning to flee from their homes. Khokhan Shit, his father, wife and children have already left their house in Sonachura and have taken shelter with relatives. Tapasi Jana is planning to send away her 17 years old daughter as she fears she will be raped. It is feared that villages under attack will gradually empty out.

Gokulnagar Adhikary para has a camp of 22 jawans from the Eastern Frontier Rifles. When we asked these jawans about their role in the recent problems in the village, they told us (after 3 days of occurrence) that they still did not know details of what had happened there on Friday night, when a serious incident took place with 11 people injured and 1 woman gangraped.  They said their patrolling routes and activity were decided by an Assistant Sub Inspector from the West Bengal Police, who according to the village people is hand in glove with the CPI(M) harmad. The CRPF soldiers who are now guarding Gokulnagar village complained about not having the powers to take any action, and said they were puppets in the hands of the local police.

The names of some of the CPI(M) goons against whom complaints were reported to have been lodged with Nandigram P.S. are:
Gurupada Patra, Manik Patra, Raja Garu Das, Ratan Garu Das, Babulal Bor, Sudhangshu Garu Das,Sanjay Mondal, Suman Mondal, Milan Bijoli, Prakash Mondal, Johar Das  and others .
The first four are the accused in cases that were filed in March and Novemebr 2007, but are still evading arrest with police help.

[1] The local name for the armed  goons of the CPI(M)

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